Best Practices for Office AED Programs

Whether you already have an existing AED program for your office or you’re considering implementing a new program for the first time, the following guidelines will help you determine best practices and avoid some common pitfalls.

Whether you already have an existing AED program for your office or you’re considering implementing a new program for the first time, the following guidelines will help you determine best practices and avoid some common pitfalls.

We want you to feel comfortable answering questions like:

Still deciding whether or not an AED program is right for your office? We’ve got you covered!

What should my AED program include?

Well-run AED programs include all three of the following core components:

  • CPR/AED training
  • Broad AED unit awareness
  • Ongoing AED oversight (and medical direction, if necessary)

CPR & AED Training

“First Aid, CPR, and AED training need to become part of a larger culture of safety within workplaces” 

-Michael Kurz, MD, chair of the American Heart Association’s Systems of Care Subcommittee and associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Workplace CPR/AED training will teach your staff about the signs and symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and prepare them to respond during an emergency. While hands-only CPR is easy to perform, and automated external defibrillator (AED) machines are easy to use, a structured CPR/AED training course will provide your office with an opportunity for everyone to practice these life-saving skills. 

Additionally, CPR classes might be required as a part of your state’s Good Samaritan law. Aside from being helpful and good practice, CPR training might be an important requirement for you to fulfill. 

Training courses should also include planning and preparation beyond just CPR and AED use. For instance, emergency response plans should include things such as designating personnel to hold locked doors for first responders and preparing for where Emergency Medical Services might enter the facility. Preparing for SCA emergencies will help streamline your response and save precious seconds during a rescue!

What kind of training curriculum do I need for my office’s AED program?

While there are many different CPR/AED training programs, we recommend a nationally-recognized curriculum such as the American Heart Association (AHA) or the American Red Cross (ARC).

Spread awareness about your AED program

Research indicates that a staggering ⅔ of workers cannot locate the AED at work. Improved AED awareness can change this and will help increase the likelihood of survival.

AED awareness can take many forms: from simple informational notes provided to all new employees, annual email reminders, or routine Sudden Cardiac Arrest drills. 

The best AED programs include awareness activities that extend beyond the walls of your office. For example, informing visitors, guests, and customers about your AED program. 

All AEDs have batteries and electrode pads that require maintenance or replacement over time. Additionally, AED units perform self-tests to make sure that they’re ready for an emergency. Monitoring, or “oversight,” of your AEDs is important. The more AEDs your office has, the more challenging monitoring can become, so we recommend that you buy AEDs that offer connectivity so that you have access to data on the readiness of your  AED fleet at any given time.

Not all wirelessly connected AED units are the same.

Some units only perform weekly self-tests, some only connect over WiFi, and others don’t connect with all wireless internet protocols. Make sure to purchase a device that offers daily self-tests and has both cellular and WiFi coverage to maximize the locations you can place (and monitor) your fleet of units.

How do I measure the effectiveness of our AED program?

The most rewarding measurement of your AED program’s effectiveness is how many lives you’re able to save. Between rescues, there are several other data points that can be valuable:

  • Measure the readiness status of your AEDs in order to ensure that they’re all ready for use during an emergency. If you have a unit that fails a self-test, resolve the issue immediately
  • Set up a database of when your AED parts require replacement, and process orders in advance so that you’re never left with AED pads that have expired
  • Measure the percentage of your office that has received CPR/AED training and strive to increase the figure each year by training more (both new and different) people
  • Try new awareness activities (like a new flyer, lunch-and-learns, or random cardiac arrest drills) and ask your office for feedback

AED program success, like improving survival rates from SCA, is a collection of efforts and best practices that work together toward the common goal of saving lives.

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